Miami football recruiting has always been one of the more dominant forces in college football. The Hurricanes have produced some of the all-time greatest football players in college and the NFL.
This year, Miami's biggest target is 5-star OLB prospect Matthew Thomas of Booker T. Washington High School in Miami, FL. The Hurricanes are pulling out all the stops to keep one of the nation's elite defensive players home but face some stiff competition.
Family and local pressure could be Al Golden's biggest weapons, but I'm here to give you seven reason why, in the end, Thomas will not be playing in Coral Gables.
Alabama is the premier college football program in the country and I like their chances with Thomas. The Crimson Tide have two BCS titles under Nick Saban and could get No. 3 this year.
Miami has done well with their recruiting the past couple years, but they likely won't be winning a BCS title anytime soon. If Thomas wants to assure himself of having a chance to play in BCS bowl games, the national championship included, Alabama is the better option.
The Seminoles are another program that I would keep an eye on, as they present Thomas with the chance to join a future dominant defense.
The opportunity to play with talent such as Eddie Goldman, Mario Edwards, EJ Levenberry, Ronald Darby and Davin Bellamy is one he may not want to pass up on.
The Alabama defense hasn't missed a beat after losing several high-round NFL draft picks last year. Nick Saban and Kirby Smart are two of the best defensive minds in the country and churn out NFL talent in their sleep.
The Jack OLB spot at Alabama is a position where an athletic defender can really showcase his all-around talents. Jason Taylor won NFL Defensive Player of the Year for the Dolphins in this role and many of the top 3-4 OLBs play a role similar to this.
Thomas may be able to develop into a similar type of player in Tuscaloosa which would surely get him NFL attention.
Thomas recently took a trip to South Florida for their game against Florida State. There he sat and watched the Seminole defense play what he described to Scout.com as "good" and "disciplined" football.
Thomas liked how fast the FSU defense flies around and said he was impressed by them. He will be at Miami this weekend to see the Canes play, of all teams, Florida State.
I'm interested to see what he will have to say about Miami's defense.
Thomas' coach at Booker T. Washington, Tim "Ice" Harris, says that it does matter if Miami gets hit with sanctions, reports Rivals.com.
Harris says that Thomas wants to play in BCS games and if Miami gets laced with the sanctions that many believe they will, this will be a major blow to their efforts to land Thomas. I've heard from people close to the program that they realize when the NCAA is done with their investigation, major penalties will be imposed.
Thomas is open to telling anyone that he grew up a Miami Hurricanes fan and that he is proud to be from Miami. The Hurricanes made an offer to him early and their roster sets up for him to play as a true freshman, two big draws.
With his hometown school showering him with love and attention, making it obvious they need him and have room for him, Thomas should have committed to Miami months ago.
But he hasn't.
And that doesn't bode well for The U.
With Thomas spending his childhood and adolescence in Miami, he could feel now is the time for him to get away. He could go anywhere in the country for a change of scenery and to grow on his own.
It could be good for him, because the chances of the Miami Dolphins drafting him in 3-5 years are slim and he'll likely find himself in another city when he gets to the NFL. Thomas could choose to battle his homesickness now and get it over with as a college player rather than wait for the pros to make him do it.
Edwin Weathersby has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects & writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (now ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.